Pancreatic cancer in young adults: changes, challenges, and solutions

Onco Targets Ther. 2019 May 6:12:3387-3400. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S176700. eCollection 2019.


Despite improvements in multidisciplinary treatments, survival of pancreatic cancer (PC) patients remains dismal. Studies dealing with early onset pancreatic cancer (EOPC) patients are scarce. In this review, we discuss differences between EOPC and late-onset pancreatic cancer based on findings in original papers and reviews with a focus on morphology, genetics, clinical outcomes and therapy. In conclusion, families with a positive history of PC and patients with BRCA 1 or 2 mutations should be monitored. Patients with EOPC usually present with better overall fitness compared to the average PC population, however often with even more aggressive cancer behaviour. Therefore, potent state-of-the-art multi-modal systemic therapies should be applied whenever possible. Large-scale registries and randomized clinical trials dealing with EOPC in regard to distinct biology and outcome are warranted.

Keywords: chemotherapy; early onset pancreatic cancer; resectability; risk factors; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review